Three Steps to Obtain Your Cruising Permit

A cruising permit is issued to foreign-flagged yachts and other recreational vessels from countries that have a reciprocal arrangement with the United States. Once issued, it exempts the boat captain from having to:

  • File manifests, obtain permits, and carry out related entry and clearance procedures each time the vessel arrives at a U.S. port.
  • Pay tonnage tax or entry and clearance fees at every port it enters after the one that issued the permit.

To receive your cruising permit when you arrive in U.S. waters, take the following steps:

  1. Report to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol immediately upon reaching port.
  2. Make a formal vessel entry on Form 1300 within 48 hours and pay all applicable fees.
  3. Request the cruising license from the Customs and Border Patrol Port Director.

Once issued, your cruising permit is valid for a maximum of one year. After it expires, you may apply for another one if:

  • At least 15 days have passed since it expired
  • You are arriving in the U.S. from a foreign destination

Having a cruising permit does not exempt you from the requirements for filing the Notice of Arrival with the National Vessel Movement Center of the U.S. Coast Guard. You must also report your departure to Customs and Border Protection when you leave a port in the United States and head to another one or even leave the country.

Once issued, a cruising permit is valid for a maximum of one year. Many boat owners opt to surrender their permit to Customs and Border Protection when they leave the United States for a foreign port, so that they can apply for a new one when they re-enter. It is important to note that traveling in foreign waters while the cruising permit is in effect does not help satisfy the 15-day wait mentioned above.

Every foreign-flagged recreational vessel requires a cruising permit to travel in U.S. waters without facing formal procedures at every stop, but the regulations surrounding cruising permits can be difficult, given the frequency with which the rules change. The Customs Brokerage Division at Howard S. Reeder can assist you with the steps involved in applying for or renewing your cruising permit and answer any questions you may have about your reporting duties and obligations while in the U.S. For more information, please contact us today.

Written by Howard S Reeder Inc

Howard S. Reeder, Inc is a family-owned business which has been in operation since 1940 when Howard S. Reeder Sr. founded our customs brokerage company and began helping importers bring products into the United States. Now on our third generation of ownership, both our company and our areas of expertise have greatly expanded over the more than 75 years since our inception.